Skip Navigation

Training for success: South Dakota's story

The 2013 Statewide Tobacco Prevention Institute - Pierre, South Dakota

The 2013 Statewide Tobacco Prevention Institute - Pierre, South Dakota

Like many programs within state health departments, the South Dakota Tobacco Control Program provides funding to schools and community organizations to carry out local prevention, education and advocacy activities. In 2010, the state began funding school and community partnerships, which required the partners to combine and coordinate their efforts. At that time, the state tobacco program leaders realized that to ensure the most effective use of their resources, many of the new local grantees needed training to become familiar with high-impact, evidence-based policies and programs.

Since 2011, TTAC has worked with the state tobacco program to design and deliver three annual statewide Tobacco Prevention Institutes, where grantees, community partners, coalition members, education professionals, and state-level staff learn and collaborate on environmental and systems change interventions that reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and the appeal and access to tobacco products. Topics have included smoke-free multi-unit housing, tobacco-free parks, increasing access to the state quitline, applying best practices for youth programs, promoting tobacco free policies, strengthening partnerships, coalition building, and youth advocacy. Different training tracks have been offered to meet the needs of beginners as well as more advanced tobacco control professionals. To build on the training delivered at the Institutes, TTAC has also presented a series of Best Practices webinars with separate training tracks tailored to the needs of state staff and local grantees.

Throughout the collaboration, the TTAC staff have served as subject matter experts on CDC’s Best Practices to guide state and local stakeholders in implementing high-impact, evidence-based tobacco control strategies. TTAC also worked closely with the South Dakota state tobacco control program staff to assess the needs of the state staff and grantees; design, execute, and evaluate training plans; and manage logistics for all of the conferences and webinars. These efforts have paid off since the program has seen a significant improvement regarding the quality of submitted grant applications.  In addition, for the 2010-2011 funding year, evaluation results indicated that only 46% of the funded grantees had met their identified objectives/activities within the goal areas.  However, after implementing best practices training webinars and developing a more standardized approach within the application, the grant program’s evaluation results showed that over 90% of the grantees had met their identified objectives/activities for the 2011-2012 funding year.

RTHtoolkit_K-12According to Scarlett Bierne, Program Director of the South Dakota Tobacco Control Program, her greatest lesson from the collaboration is the difference that adequate training has made in producing achievements at the local level. Says Bierne, “If you provide funding to local grantees, you have to also provide guidance and training to help them to be successful. Funding on its own does not equate to success.”

TTAC and the South Dakota Tobacco Program are continuing the series of Best Practices webinars through 2013, and have already begun planning for the 2014 Institute. TTAC and South Dakota are revising a toolkit on tobacco control in post-secondary schools, which will be the latest in a series of tobacco prevention toolkits the two organizations have developed collaboratively.

Click here for a printable version of this story.